Monday, September 5, 2011

A Day & A Date With HIV

When i was looking for a place to spend my days off, i have signed up to a lot of organizations that are looking for volunteers. And one of the organization was for AIDS Awareness and support.

Saturday night i got a call from them asking if I can come and spend sometime with them and see for myself if I will like to join their org. They will be giving instructions and support to the newly infected individuals. But if I come, I need to promise them that whatever and whoever I see there must be kept confidential. And I assured them of that. My curiosity came first, I wanted to experience and witness how these people reacts upon learning that they got it. So I asked my boss if I can go, and because it's for a good cause, he let me.
Dress up in my office and decent look, as I want them to have a good impression on me, I went there. As soon as i enter the room, I feel like I am a little over dressed because most of them are in their jeans and shirt and sweat pants and sweat shirts.

The team leader was so pleasant and recognized me at once. And introduced me to everyone there. Btw, i came late but they knew I will be late because I informed them that I need to finish my work and I will be comng from burlington and he said it's gonna be fine. I was maybe 30minutes late. They were already giving some informations.

I was confused because all the people inside the room seems perfectly healthy and pretty decent looking people. So i thought they are volunteers like me. The discussion went on. I even shared to them my experience with my friend back home in the philippines. Yes! A very devastating experience. A friend of mine 22yo got the infection. A very young, goodlooking, fresh graduate got it. Ypu wont believe it, we literaly got out of words and at the very moment, we felt like the whole world STOP!

Everyone in the room looked at me with sad eyes. Maybe in the room i am the you gest one and mostly my guess, the next one is around 50yo. One of the guys told me, that's too young not even half of my age. That line put me in my friend's place. Young and infected! Why?

Everyone shared their experiences but the two memorable ones are the guy who is very good looking, a GQ type guy who by his own story, got infected (his suspicion) from one of his encounters in bathhouses. And the other one got my attention because he told us, he usually got some sex partners hanging out on the two bars that I usually go. That is alarming to me...

So on and on, the team leader and the rest of the old volunteers there are giving out information and educating everyone about HIV and AIDS. And I got deep into it.

At the end of the session, this very good looking, neat looking guy probably on his 50's is intensely staring at me. So I approached him and introduced myself. His first words was, you are so cute. And you dress well. If only I am a little younger I would ask you out. Im flattered for I am always been attracted to older men. I replied, how young do you think I am sir? He smiled and told me, 32. I smiled and told him, thank you for being so kind. But I am much older. He gave me a look and said, really? I saiid yes, i am 41. Then he ask me, you have plans for the night? I said, I would probably be grabbing a beer. Ask me, would a 41yo go with a 54yo man for a drink. I just smiled and nod. He introduced himslef and hahaha... what a name. Same name as you are my dear friend. I laughed and told him, how many are you here of the same name? and I laughed.

So off we went to the bar that I usually go. The bar that the guy mentioned. He drives a good car. And I am impressed.

As soon as we are seated. He offered to buy me a drink. Told him im a beer drinker, anything will do. He went back with a bottle of beer and a glass of juice. This time, I gave him a look and said, juice? He answed back, oh I forgot to mention to you, I dont drink anymore, used to but can't now. For health condition. I thought, where is this conversation leading to?

Then after a short silence, he asked me? Jj, if I have told you that I am HIV+, would you still go out with me tonight? He got me out of words.I thought all this time that he is one of the facilitators. I never thought that he got it. Not to offend him, I said yes. What's wrong with going out with a friend who have it. As I have told everyone earlier, I am with a friend for 6months before leaving for Taiwan. It actually broke my heart leaving him there because I know he will be alone. But I really need to go.

He started telling me his story. He and another four more friends would always hang out together on cafes, bars and restaurants. And he laughed before telling me, JJ your size and shape, your skin tone, your looks would be a wonderful sight for us. I laughed and said, so you guys love asians. He smile and said yes.

He followed it up with, would you care to hang out with  someone who is HIV+ or take chances of dating someone who doesn't know and feels like he is not infected? He once again got me... I dont know how to answer back. The problem now JJ is. Looks can be deceiving especially those who are strong, they might already been infected but because their resistance is good, they just dont show and feel the symptoms yet. THERE IS NO WAY WE CAN LABEL WHO HAVE AND WHO DOES NOT HAVE IT...

He is actually concern because after he knew he got it, he emailed all of the guys that he went out with and this one particular Asian guy did not email back. He knew and suspected that he might be the one who have it.

After two more beers and a glass of juice for him. We call it a night. I hugged him and told him if he wants someone to talk to I am just a text away.

He smiled and said, BE CAREFUL JJ! Be safe all the time.


  1. Dear JJ: Thanks for this candid discussion of the very real problems facing people with AIDS/HIV. I never hear very much anymore about what is going on with people living with this dreaded disease. Have the drugs gotten better, are people living much longer and good lives? Thank-you for shedding light upon this vital subject. God bless all who have this disease. May there be a permanent cure soon!jane jones/chiccoreal

  2. @ Suz, wish i can just do like that. but this is now the reality. and this is where i live. so i rather help educated people and do something positive.

    @ chiccoreal, i will make an update on this. i will be attending the volunteer lecture and training on October 7 & 8 and i'll make sure to impart all te knowledge that i will get from that.


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